Bridget Jone's Diary (SE)/A,A
Miramax/2001/98/ANA 2.35

     I absolutely loved this film! Feeling thoroughly uplifted as the end credits rolled, I was reminded that few films succeed with such effective consistency. Here's side-splitting comedy coupled with credible romance. Beautifully crafted from the sumptuous cinematography to often funny costumes, first-time director Sharon Maguire shows a veteran's poise in pacing, scene transition, and command of actors. Bravo Sharon!

A wedding--NOT! ©Miramax

    Bridget Jones is a thirty-something single working in the British publishing industry. Her suburban family would like nothing more than for her to find a permanent beau. At the annual Darcy Christmas bash, Mark Darcy is reintroduced to her, but sunny Bridget collides with an iceberg. Romance is in the cards for Bridget at work with boss Daniel Cleaver. In the meantime, she keeps bumping into Mark Darcy at inopportune moments. And Darcy and Cleaver have a questionable history to boot. 
    Helen Fielding wrote the script from her own novel. When I saw Fielding's name, Bridget's romp reminded me of modern day lady Tom Jones. Of course, there's The Pride and Prejudice nod a la the Darcy family.
    Not since Robert DeNiro beefed up for Raging Bull has a actor downed milk shakes with such courageous abandon. Renee Zellweger reportedly added twenty pounds (not Sterling) to her weight to fit the Bridget mold. Not that Zellweger sheds her appeal, but at least the weight jokes work. Zellweger is a joy to watch. She catches the fragile security of Bridget, yet keeps her head held high with a marvelous deprecatory sense of humor. The jokes pour on like a thick viscous syrup over pancakes. Hugh Grant makes the most of his caddish cadences with a convincing performance as Cleaver. Darcy's Firth is so straight you can't wait for him to bend just a bit. There are winning supporting performances to enrich the Bridget Jones's Diary experience. Gemma Jones does daffy deliciously as Bridget's mom and Jim Broadbent brings a touching note to Dad Jones. 
    Bridget Jones's Diary is brought to a special edition DVD in a wonderful transfer. Every precious detail is captured with keen sense of the production. Breezy, sharp images and outstanding background focus. The color is upbeat, fully saturated and cleanly accurate. There's a nice variety of flesh tones. Boy, this DVD has terrific punch. Blacks are endlessly deep. Night scenes are delivered with maximum gloss. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround is excellent. Dialogue is perfectly clear, though laughter may cover up some of the clever script lines.
    Sharon Maguire provides refreshing audio commentary with generous honesty. The commentary is a good reflection of the brio that went into the production. There's a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, a couple of music videos, and Helen Fielding's original newspaper columns that form the spine of Bridget Jones's Diary.


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